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Christmas trees help create fish habitats

Posted: December 29, 2013 - 1:09am
Army Corps of Engineers employees collect Christmas trees that were left at Riverside Middle School in 2012. The trees will provide habitat for fish.  File photo by Jim Blaylock
File photo by Jim Blaylock
Army Corps of Engineers employees collect Christmas trees that were left at Riverside Middle School in 2012. The trees will provide habitat for fish.

Now that Christmas is over, the live Christmas tree that filled the home for the past few weeks is on its way out the door. Why not consider participating in one of the area’s tree-recycling programs?

As part of its annual Christmas tree recycling program, the Army Corps of Engineers will be accepting trees at Riverside Middle School in Evans through Jan. 8.

All decorations must be removed from the trees before dropping them off. The recycled trees will be placed in various locations at Thurmond Lake at Clarks Hill, S.C., to enhance fish habitat.

To get a list of GPS coordinates of the submerged trees, call (800) 533-3478 after Jan. 10.

“In deep-water impoundments like Thurmond Lake, one of the habitat requirements for native fisheries species is underwater structures like aquatic vegetation and tree snags,” said Ken Boyd, wildlife biologist with the Thurmond Lake office. “Fish and other aquatic species need these areas for cover. Using recycled Christmas trees allows us to supplement our existing underwater structures on the lake.

‘‘We also mark these areas around the lake. Most folks who fish Thurmond Lake with any frequency know that these areas are a good place to catch fish.”

As part of the annual Christmas tree recycling program, officials with the Army Corps of Engineers collected 1,200 trees last year from communities surrounding Thurmond Lake.

Another option for tree recycling is Keep Columbia County Beautiful’s Bring One for the Chipper.

Keep Columbia County Beautiful, in conjunction with the Evans Home Depot, will hold its 12th annual Bring One for the Chipper on Saturday, Jan. 4. Trees will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and free mulch will be available while supplies last. People have been dropping off their Christmas trees since Thursday.

Keep Columbia County Beautiful reminds residents that tree stands, wires, lights, ornaments and other decorations should be removed prior to drop-off. For more information about Bring One for the Chipper, call (706) 312-7195.

Also, for those who prefer curbside service and don’t mind giving to a good cause, Evans Boy Scout Troop 643 will be picking up Christmas trees for recycling on Saturday, Jan. 4. A $10 donation helps Scouts attend summer camp. Call (706) 373-8922 or go online to GetMyTree@knology.net to schedule a pick-up.

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